FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – Lane Kiffin is aware of reports linking him to Auburn’s job and another in which Ole Miss is willing to offer him a new contract to stay with the Rebels as a potential bidding war flares up between SEC West rivals for head coach.
The buzz peaked this week ahead of Ole Miss’s trip to unranked Arkansas, where the No. 14 (8-3) Rebels lost 42-27 in a game they trailed 42-6 early in the second half. The players said it was difficult to block rumors about their coach, but said it was not a distraction and did not result in a discouraging defeat in Fayetteville.
Kiffin addressed the rumors after the loss, saying he was happy in Ole Miss, but he didn’t deny the reports or clarify what’s in store for him in 2023 and beyond. Kiffin became Auburn’s No. 1 target shortly after the shot. Brian Hars and hired director of athletics John Cohen from Mississippi to lead their department and find Halloween trainers.
“Fair question,” Kiffin told 247Sports. “Like I said, I love being here. I mean, I don’t want to look forward to next year with a regular season game (remaining), but it’s not one of those years where you say we’re going to lose everything.” These guys. A lot of people are coming back and a lot of new guys on offense, especially. So I’m very excited about the future. I don’t know what’s in there – No. 1 stuff. Maybe if they watched the first half, then I wouldn’t be No. 1 anymore.”
Kiffin makes $7.5 million a year at Ole Miss. Sports Talk Mississippi reported Thursday that the school has offered the three-year-old Rebels coach a new contract and a pay raise that will put him in the top 10 nationally.
“I won’t get into that,” Kiffin said. “I never talk about it. And I’m very happy here.”
Kiffin added that he was “very grateful to the management” of Ole Miss.
The Rebels have gone 18-6 in the past two seasons under Kiffin, who was hired from the FAU in 2020 after serving as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Ole Miss is trying to win back-to-back 10 seasons for the first time since 1959 and 1960 with Mississippi State, and a trip to the bowl game remains on the schedule.
The Rebels lost back-to-back games against the Alabama and Sharp Guards amid speculation about their head coach’s future.
“You hear it. It’s out there somewhere.” -QB Ole Miss Jackson Dart said. “I think our guys are trying really hard to stay focused, not let it get in our heads and just control what we can control.”
Ole Miss hosts rival Mississippi State in the Thanksgiving Egg Bowl. Kick-off at Vought Hemingway Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.